Hashim Amla registered a stoic double century as England's chances of victory in the second Test against South Africa receded further on the fourth morning in Cape Town.
Amla reached lunch on 200 not out from 467 balls, completing his fifth full session at the crease in an innings that was already into its 12th hour.
South Africa were still 201 behind on 428 for three but the chances of a positive result now seem remote with just nine wickets falling in the entire match to date.
Amla, dropped twice on day three, offered one chance on 197 but Joe Root at mid-on seemed not to pick up the flight of the ball and saw it bounce a couple of yards in front of him.
With Amla resuming unbeaten on 157 and Faf du Plessis 51no, England needed early breakthroughs to force the door ajar.
Steven Finn looked their most dangerous weapon and he produced two fine deliveries to Du Plessis in his first over.
The first saw the batsman drop his hands on a rising ball and the second whistling dangerously close to the edge.
If that gave the tourists hope of advancing the game it soon began evaporating.
Du Plessis got his feet moving with a rhythmical cover drive for four off James Anderson, while Amla reserved his attacking shots for a leg-stump half-volley and a couple of wider offerings from Finn.
With Ben Stokes off the field, England turned to Moeen Ali to bowl 12 overs unchanged.
There was no real turn but in his fifth over Moeen at least found Du Plessis' edge. The ball flew in the general vicinity of Anderson at slip but the speed and trajectory meant it hardly even qualified as a catchable chance.
He was also unfortunate when Amla, curiously, attempted to garnish his stony-faced knock with a big aerial shot down the ground.
Root would surely have been underneath it had he tracked the ball in time but, not for the first time in this match, the fielder appeared initially unsighted and the opportunity went begging.
Amla worked his next delivery for one to reach 200 for the fourth time in his career.
Du Plessis had 81no by the break from a stand of 160.